An Introduction to BLITZ
Traditional methods of Project and Program Management are primarily focused on clean sheet development where there is a start, a process, and a finish. Our methodology assumes that there are significant challenges that need to be resolved, and there may well be time, quality, progress, organizational, or structural problems that have to be resolved to make significant headway.
Our governing dynamics are:
Digital transformation is achieved by bringing creative engineering disciplines to focus on a specific outcome.
A small group of focused people can achieve the impossible by working together.
There is a way, our role is to find the way and go down it.
Our Operating Principles are focused around:
A focus on specific business outcomes
Urgency & Acceleration
Enthusiasm & Creativity
Opportunism & Parallel activity
The BLITZ Steps
Step 1: Assessment:
Understanding the problem: Existing objectives and strategy, people, skills , motivations : strengths & weaknesses, technology, architecture and road map, tool usage, contractual constraints, change management assessment, and the reasons for being where we are.
Defining a Way forward: a short term North Star, a high level game plan, people requirements, immediate possible first steps to resolution.
Gaining buy in: Executive buy in to the North Star, team/user buy in to the North Star, immediate team actions, first steps
Deliverables: A statement of understanding, immediate communication and reporting processes, near , medium and log term objectives, high level plan, a detailed short term plan, roles and responsibilities, defined processes for progress, and a process adoption plan.
Expected Duration: 3-4 weeks
Step 2: Blitz 1
Define scope of operation for the first 2 weeks: Blitz 1 tasks, Blitz 1 issues, Blitz 1 resourcing, Blitz 1 actions, Blitz 1 processes
Blitz 1 Objectives:
1. Get every team member working on something constructive to the immediate and long term objectives,
2. Understand the immediate issues that need to be resolved
3. Reinvigorate and enthuse the team
4. Set out a simple escalation path to communicate blockers
5. Set out a simple communication plan for stakeholders
6. Accelerate the team into productivity
Deliverables: A team and customer that knows things are changing, 2 weeks of progress, and/or a better understanding of the problems, significant blocking issues identified and resolved.
Expected Duration: 2 weeks, concurrent with weeks 2&3 of step 1
Step 3: Engagement & Communication Planning
Facilitated Workshop with team, customer, executive, and partner/vendor representation to drive understanding of:
North Star review / definition
Review & agree high level program objectives / strategies
Inter-discipline communication accelerator
Issues review (technology, change management)
BLITZ 2 planning; tasks, issues, resourcing, actions, processes
Major milestone 1 definition
High level plan / prioritization
Change Management Plan
Deliverables: A common documented understanding with all parts of the organization, about the path forward on the project/program.
Expected Duration: Prep 5 days, workshop 2-3 days running concurrently with week 4 of the Step 1 - Assessment
Step 4: Blitz 2
Project acceleration and issue resolution: 4 weeks split into 2 sprints, review BLITZ 1 progress, define and prioritize for the initial major milestone, carry out BLITZ 2 tasks, resolve BLITZ 2 issues, ensure resourcing is in place as needed, clear BLITZ 2 actions, consistently use BLITZ 2 processes and agree processes and tools for future use.
BLITZ 2 Objectives:
1. Continue to accelerate the project
2 Focus team members on the major milestone and their contribution to that
3. Set out the medium term goals (2-4 months)
4 Agree long term process strategy (agile, kanban, waterfall etc) & tools , set out a plan to flexibly implement
Deliverables: 4 weeks of progress from the team, agreed tools and processes for further activities, communication clear with executive and customers, Milestone 1 defined
Duration: 4 weeks
Step 5: Leadership and Organizational Development
During BLITZ 1: Project/Program leadership introduction to BLITZ management and servant leadership through coaching and example. Daily scrum participation. Executive engagement and support.
During BLITZ 2: Review of the delivery organization, ensuring roles and responsibilities are clear, and that all team members understand how they can support the success of the team.
During Program Phase 1: Ensuring the effectiveness of the team in line with defined roles and responsibilities, validating team leaders soft skills and team support actions to encourage team performance. Evolution of resourcing as required by the milestones.
Duration: Ongoing, concurrent with steps 2-9
Step 6: Process Adoption
During BLITZ 1: Set up war room / digital war room, implement daily scrums / checkpoints immediately, implement interactive direct escalation & communication, initiate success mentoring. Outline processes and structure of Step 3 workshop.
Following BLITZ 2: Agreed methodology (default Agile but can be Kanban or Extreme), processes, tools, communication strategy, and a plan to roll these out. Agreed executive update process and inter-project reporting template
During Program Phase 1: Roll out agreed processes, tools communications, issues, escalation and reporting, with servant leadership operating principles.
Step 7: Communication and Change Management
Positive focus on the organizations ability to accept changes:
Communication and communication planning
Sponsor engagement, activities, and road maps
Coaching and manager training
Training and employee development
Vendor and partner engagement
Communication issue management
Recognizing and celebrating successes
Data collection, feedback, analysis, and corrective action
Duration: week 3 of Stage 1: Assessment onward
Step 8: Milestone 1 Sprints
The new normal: Implementing the methodology of choice, 2 week sprints, fully operational war room. Make progress towards Milestone 1, manage issues as they arise, celebrate successes, surround and solve problems. For each sprint:
Validate previous progress
Validate High Level Plan
Define next Sprint contents and acceptance criteria
Deliver expected contents of Sprint
Communicate with Executive, Users, Vendors etc
Duration: not more than 2-3 months
Step 9: Milestone 2+ Sprints
Continuous Delivery of Excellence: With a stable, predictable, productive environment and team, operating well understood processes to manage production and effective communication, Sprints and Milestones become more productive over time, the team can express its creativity in delivery and circumventing problems.
Executive, Users and business partners increasingly rely on production plans to make business decisions.
Prioritization evolves from raw functional delivery towards including operating improvements based on usability opportunities.
The prime objectives of the program may be complete, and the continued evolution of the solution brings cost effective incremental business value to the organization.
The teams detailed understanding of the solution allows for the transition to support as required.
Duration: to be defined by the program